City of Santa Barbara Considers Banning Styrofoam
Biodegradable cups (photo: wikimedia)
Last Tuesday, the City of Santa Barbara Ordinance Committee voted to ban the sale and use of styrofoam in the city. This Tuesday is the final vote.
A unanimous vote took place on June 12 as the committee agreed styrofoam contributes to ocean pollution. The final vote was put on hold until June 19 so they could consider adding an "ask only" regulation for plastic straws and cutlery.
"We applaud the Committee for these decisions – it is an important step that Santa Barbara can take to remove itself from being a contributor to the plastic ocean waste epidemic," wrote Hillary Hauser from local environmental group Heal the Ocean.
Exemptions are being considered for businesses who claim "hardship" in discontinuing their use of styrofoam. Blenders in the Grass is one local company who states their smoothie products become "runny" in anything but their tall white signature styrofoam cups after they switched to plastic cups several years ago. The company switched back after losing revenue.
In a written statement, Hauser explained how Heal the Ocean is against these exemptions. She cited the Kokua Foundation in Hawaii who learned their local juice company, as well as Jamba Juice, use compostable cold cups made of PLA (plant-based Polylactic acid) – made of corn starch and sugar cane.
Further, the activist group stated that Marborg, Santa Barbara's recycling and waste management company, cannot reuse or recycle styrofoam and it heads to the landfill.
The ordinance meeting is taking place on Tuesday, June 19 at 12:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber of City Hall.